I am an Anxious Shopper

I don’t typically like leaving the house when I’m alone. My husband will beg to differ, because of the amount of receipts he sees sitting on his desk when he gets home every night. But really, I don’t. On days I happen to have the car, if I decide to venture out, it takes a lot for me to do so. Mentally and physically. And then once I’m out, I rush through it. Unfortunately, because of my rushing, I often forget things I need, and have to do it all over again the next day. It’s something that I’ve been working on.

Last Sunday, I told Eric I was going to Michael’s and Charming Charlie, and didn’t give him a definite time that I would be home. But even leaving the house that day was hard. I kept waiting for him to tell me he wanted to go with me or even for me not to go at all. I said goodbye probably 4 or 5 times, kissed him a few times, and even found an excuse to come back inside after I had already reached the car.

I don’t have agoraphobia, or evening anything similar. I do however have anxiety about being put in social situations that I don’t feel equipped to handle. 9 out of 10 times, those situations don’t arise, but that 10% cripples me.

When I got to Michael’s that day, I gave myself a $20 spending limit, and then proceeded to walk down every single aisle. I picked up things I didn’t care about, (I probably looked like a shoplifter) read the packages, and put them back. I don’t know how long I was there, but I forced myself to stay longer than I felt comfortable.

After Michael’s, I drove over to the mall. The second I got out of my car I was uncomfortable. I instantly began to think of the quickest way to get there. I started getting panicked about who I may run into or what I may look like to others. But once I got in, it wasn’t too terrible. The people that work the kiosks seemed to be busy with actual customers, too busy to hassle anyone else. I even made a stop in a store where I would normally feel awkward, although I didn’t make eye contact with a single person.

Once I got to Charming Charlie, I made a beeline for the clearance jewelry, as usual. But I had been too lucky until that point. Nobody had talked to me yet, aside from the cashier at Michael’s, nor while I was walking through the mall. So of course, it was now time to be approached. Boy, was I awkward. The salesperson was so nice, trying to be so helpful, and I really just wanted her to get away from me. Unfortunately I didn’t find any jewelry that I liked so I had to keep looking (I had a gift card to use). I was then approached by a second salesperson who really seemed to want to talk, A LOT. Again, she was so nice, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt so uncomfortable. Luckily at that point I had already picked something out, grabbed it, and ran for the register (Not literally). You better believe I walked as quick as I could, head down, back to my car.

I’m not sure if I’ve always been like this, but I do have vivid memories of being a kid and not being able to order my own food when we went out. I also remember that as a teenager, I refused to call anyone I didn’t know. I couldn’t even order a pizza.

I don’t know if I’m always going to be like this, but I hope not. That’s why I’m trying to work on it. Trying to get out one day at a time. But sometimes it seems that forcing myself does more harm than good.

I know I’m not the only person who experiences anxiety, or even just the feeling of awkwardness around others, but sometimes it feels so lonely.

I hope that this leads to a little more understanding about who I am. As always, feel free to leave questions or comments.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Rebecca

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